Class of 2016 Success Stories: Exploring the world through language

Samantha Sanson is headed to Hong Kong to teach English

By Bob Cunningham

Samantha Sanson wanted to attend Bowling Green State University so she could experience the “classic campus life with a community feeling” before she headed off to the big city.

Sanson, who grew up in Bay Village near Cleveland, is sticking to her plan — she’s headed to one of the most densely populated cities in the world: Hong Kong. Sanson majored in Spanish and minored in German, graduating Aug. 6.

She plans to stay in China for a year or two and teach English for American English Workshop, where she will be a full-time tutor working with children ages 3 through 9. 

Sanson, no stranger to world travel, doesn’t know a single person in China, but that won’t stop her from taking on a new adventure.

“It’s the most populous country in the world so I should be able to make a friend somehow, right?” she said, laughing. “I’ll have plenty of people to choose from.”

Sanson plans to come back to the United States in the next few years to get a master’s degree, but she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to teach English in China.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Asia and teach English for a year or so,” she said. “If I like it, I might end up getting my master’s to teach English to people who speak other languages, but probably with more of a focus on the Hispanic population though.”

This will be Sanson’s fourth time living abroad. She lived in Mexico for a gap year before she started her freshman year at BGSU. Then she spent her sophomore year in Spain and junior year in Austria.

“I always had the same interests growing up, like being friends with the foreign exchange students when they came to high school,” Sanson said. “I always wanted to travel and I always wanted to study abroad. So, I guess going into college I definitely wanted to do something foreign. That was kind of my mindset.”

Living in Mexico after high school helped Sanson decide on a major.  

“I just loved the people and the language and the culture of Mexico,” she said. “It’s funny because I studied French in high school and had never taken Spanish before, so I didn’t know any Spanish except for a few words.”

Sanson said she was able to pick up a lot of the language from living in Mexico. Plus, she had a private tutor to work with every week.

“I was really confident verbally when I got back to Ohio,” she said. “I always wanted to do something multicultural or something that I eventually could turn into teaching or social work. I didn’t really know what route to take, but I loved Spanish so I figured I’d go with that.”

Sanson said BGSU offered plenty of opportunities to learn foreign languages, both in and out of the classroom.  

“We have a large international population here, which is awesome for people like me who want to meet and learn from foreign students,” she said. “I think our foreign language programs are great, and it’s awesome we have the AYA (Academic Year Abroad) programs I participated in.”

Sanson was able to attend universities in Madrid and Salzburg, Austria, directly through the AYA programs of Bowling Green — “so there wasn’t anything messy with transferring credits and stuff like that.”